Battery renewal

Accu foto Piet Van Meel

The problem

It is a well-known problem to e-bike riders: after some time the range starts to drop. This will happen to every battery, no matter what you do. The typical life expectancy of a battery is about 500 recharge cycles. At first the drop will be hardly noticeable, but gradually the capacity will decrease significantly, until a given moment, where your e-bike will loose all power and you will have to push all by yourself.

What shouldn't be done is to hurry to a dealership and ask for a new battery. If by any change your bike hasn't been declared 'outdated', the price of a new battery will burn a hole in your wallet (Typical £300.- to £800.-). And if your e-bike is a bit older, a factory replacement is often impossible to find. The dealer will say he feels sorry for you... and then try to sell you a new e-bike. Your now obsolete e-bike's value is reduced to the price of scrap metal, while there is nothing wrong with it, besides the dead battery.

The sollution

With a bit of snooping through the classified adds or Googling something like "battery refurbishment" it is possible to find a craftsman who is able to replace the dead cells with new ones. You will save hundreds of Pounds and your renewed battery will be better than before! Better? Yes: better, while newer technology and higher capacity cells can replace your old ones, all in the original housing.

NiCd cells can be replaced with NiMh to get rid of the "memory effect", and they will work with the original charger. And if you really want to step up the technology, Li-Ion cells with triple or quadruple capacity can expand your range significantly, though these will need a dedicated charger.

After I underwent CABG-surgery, I wasn't allowed to ride or drive for several months. By the time I was able to get back in the saddle, it was Winter time, and so I didn't ride my Batavus E-go for over half a year. It didn't come as a surprise to find the battery in a very poor condition: instead of the usual 12-15 Miles on the 24V 5Ah NiCd-battery, the range was down to "a couple" of Miles.

So I replaced it with a "tuned-up" battery, made by Piet Van Meel, from Holland. He used 9Ah NiMh-cells, expanding the range to over 30 Miles. The total cost was €220, shipping included. Another advantage of the higher capacity cells is that this battery will need fewer recharging, thus stretching the life-cycle.


Please feel free to contact me, if you are a craftsman (or craftslady) who can rejuvenate e-bike batteries, or if you have (good) experience with someone who does.

E-biking is healthy and fun, but it needs to be affordable ;-)

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